Would you accept UEFA’s plan to give Arsenal a place in the Champions League as fair?

UEFA Plan Feels Wrong? By Dan Smith

My assumption was that if the season couldn’t finish, clubs would then vote for whether we just end the season now and whatever place you are in that’s your final position? Or we could pretend 2019-20 never happened and we base everything off the final 2018-19 table. In other words, we are back in the Europa League (depending on Man City’s appeal).

My attitude has always been that if we get to the stage where the League can’t be completed, there is zero way to make things fair for everyone.

Next to the backdrop of a pandemic some clubs might have to grin and bear it, with the priority being that no-one is financially destroyed by any decisions (which is why there should be zero relegation).

Yet UEFA might now take the decision out of associations hands in term of who represents which nation in Europe. The games governing body has a deadline to organise their tournaments so they might step in, say if the Premiership continue to insist they will delay kick off till as long as possible. A coefficient system would effectively be used which bases your results over a certain amount of time. As things stand ours is enough to be in the top 4 English sides (thank you Mr Wenger) and a place in the Champions League.

It would be a huge slice of luck for us and Spurs (they rank fifth so would take City’s spot) given there’s no guarantee we would have finished in the top 5.

It’s not our fault. We would just happen to benefit from the rules, but does it leave a nasty taste in your mouth? That essentially our best chance of getting back into the CL is a deadly virus leaving us in isolation long enough that all sporting events are cancelled?

Don’t get me wrong I will get over it! Stan Kroenke won’t be saying no to the added money. While I would feel bad for a Leicester or Sheffield United, I wouldn’t mourn for ever. I would just feel uneasy.

To me the thrill of sport is that sometimes you win or sometimes you lose. Sometimes you must experience that heartbreak of a loss to appreciate the thrill of success. Once you’re just handed something you haven’t earnt, it hurts the credibility of the game.

It’s like the scandal in Italy in 2006. The idea that Inter were suddenly handed the title, clubs promoted or qualifying for Europe based on events off the pitch hurt the reputation of Serie A for a long time.

As Scotland are showing, clubs will vote for their best interest, there’s too much money in football not too. It would be irresponsible for Arsenal to accept to finish the season now in 8th if we have other options. Yet if you offered me Champions League qualification now and end the campaign, I rather take the option of trying to earn it ourselves, as well as the FA Cup.
That’s what sport is about. The drama, the highs and lows, the line between success and failure. I don’t want to benefit out of a crisis (it goes without saying none of this matters compared to safety of people. Sport is irrelevant compared to life, so this is just for the sake of conversation.)

How about you, Gooners? If someone said you are back in the Champions League, but there will no football till September. Would you take it? Or prefer to take the chance of fighting for it yourself?

Be kind in comments..

Dan Smith

26 Comments

  1. kenno says:

    I would rather go starting all over than GET free things. The title should be earned in genuine fight. that is where we derive the joy. Even for a club like Liverpool who were clear favorites voiding would affect them little because even if they were to be crowned champions in normal circumstances they would commence the next season with same ambition to compete for the title. So let everyone forget this season and start afresh as if it never happened and maintain the same teams all down the leagues. I also think UEFA should over rule in this matter and declare this season as grossly disrupted and therefore void and ensure all teams to start over.

    1. Knight says:

      Like in the year 1919,and am not a Tottenham fan.I beleive you make your own luck.We gained the outstanding UEFA Coefficient points by participating in the UCL year in year out.If those points help us now then well deserved!

  2. ThirdManJW says:

    I would be happy to not be in Europe at all. We have such a poor record in any European competition that I wouldn’t mind avoiding it altogether, and just concentrate on rebuilding. Would love to see Sheff Utd in the CL!

    1. Knight says:

      Participating helps by bringing quite a windfall at the end of the season which in turn helps in rebuilding by giving players better contracts or buying the desired players

      1. ThirdManJW says:

        Well were constantly reminded of that, by Wenger himself, and did it help?

  3. Grandad says:

    The health of the populations of Europe is far more important than sport, including football.We could well be faced with a situation where there will not be any European football played next season.UEFA are powerless when it comes to decisions involving life of death thank goodness.

  4. stevo says:

    Stop the season now.
    All places stand.
    29 games is enough that’s 76% of the PL games.
    Have no relegation.
    Promote Leeds and WBA.
    Next season relegate 4 and promote 2.
    Play the cups during August.
    Its quite easy really.
    Arsenal does not deserve to be in Europe.
    Focus on the FA Cup.

    1. SueP says:

      Stevo
      I sympathise with your point but as there are so may games left, the current standings are false. Apart from Liverpool who would have to put out the under 10’s to mess up, there are multiple variations where any team will finish and this can only be real after playing a full season. Prize money for one thing as well as fighting for CL and EL places is an issue that need consideration
      You say we don’t deserve to be in Europe but unless the games are played we won’t actually know that. We could end the season brilliantly and get a place.

  5. stevo says:

    The Bundesliga are on track to kick off mid May which will make it easier for other leagues to follow.

    1. chukzenith says:

      Thanks for this is the hope we derive.

      What ever happens safety matters

    2. jon fox says:

      No they are NOT, in actuality. All they have done is to issue their proposed intention. THAT is not being on course in any way whatsoever.

    3. towny 254 says:

      No Germany has handled this virus far better than we have so yes they could start but for English leagues have has much chance as a camel passing through the eye of a needle

  6. SueP says:

    Every time I think I have the answer to this problem I disagree with myself a minute later.
    Kenno makes sensible points and even though I’m no Liverpool fan I’d feel sorry for them not lifting the trophy after such an incredible season. Virtually impossible to catch them but it would still mean that they didn’t play everyone so it would be a hollow victory
    For the rest of the league there is still much to play for.
    Not many options available really
    The powers that be want the league to play to the end but that would be a logistical nightmare and health wise for the players a difficult choice to make too

    As for getting a cheeky place in the CL that wouldn’t be true to the spirit of sport. We would be vilified for that forever and I’d be embarrassed to get a place under those circumstances

    It’s a minefield

    1. ThirdManJW says:

      Same here! So many different possibilities, and consequences.

      The biggest issue, which isn’t being talked about at all, is what do we do during the flu season? Not just for football, but for all industries. If the current lock down is about saving lives, and stopping the spread of an infectious virus, should we not be trying to save lives, and stopping the spread of another infectious virus during winter, that also kills thousands? And this happens every year as well!

      Maybe only football during warm months from now on?

      1. Admin Pat says:

        The government medical officer said that there are normally around 8,000 deaths from flu every year, so this is something comnpletely different.
        And also we have a vaccine and many medicines that can treat flu. When we have those for COVID 19 we will probably be in same position, but right now it’s a killer…

        1. SueP says:

          Off topic Admin Pat
          But it is very disappointing to discover 4 Arsenal players not abiding by the lockdown I scoffed when Spurs did it but by now you’d think the players would have got the message

          1. jon fox says:

            Would you SueP? Young footballers? I would not. They should BUT I am never surprised when young sportspeople act selfishly!

          2. towny254 says:

            I would put them on the transfer list

      2. SueP says:

        The thing is with flu it has been around for decades and we have that herd immunity and will get a weakened version of it. Sadly, the very old and those with certain health issues die every year-usually over 10,000 of them from it The trouble with Covid is that the scientists don’t know enough about it yet

        So many people think that football-life will carry on as usual and articles are posted about our transfer targets and sums over £40m being bandied about. I can’t get excited by any of it as there too many unknowns and during this period, and many more deaths.

  7. Gily says:

    Seriously begging the question.

    The real question should be; what have we been struggling to do since the two seasons before?

    IMHO, it will be better if the season is pronounced null and void, and be started afresh with every team retaining it’s position at the beginning of this current season. But then, it’s still not even clear if there will be any “next season” either as the pandemic is not feeling remorse at the ultimate price it has forced and continued to force thousands to pay.

    No team should feel cheated if the season is nulled, because the ultimate price has been paid. It is only the living that engage in football and other entertainments.

  8. WS07 says:

    With all the misfortune we have suffered this season with us being so unlucky with decisions from VAR, as well as numerous decisions over the past few seasons we are eventually getting some luck coming our way! In every possible outcome there will be winners and losers lets just be hopeful that the decision that is made makes us one of the winners. Getting a champions league spot may help us keep aubameyang as well as increase our finances to help get us those needed transfers we most desperately need. This really could turnout to be a blessing for us gooners so let’s take it!

  9. Uwot? says:

    Not bothered if get into CL other than money it provides. & if it is done on co-efficient fair enough.what was the point of all those top 4 finishes for near on 20 seasons ( matched by only Real Madrid)so rest have little to moan about.
    As for the season.Null & void & NO handing title to scousers with a qtr of season almost to play for.However unlikely anyone could catch them.consider it payback for the five seasons English clubs were banned from Europe in 1985.what goes around comes around.

    1. Sue says:

      No team should be favoured. The scousers haven’t won it yet…why favour them over others? Yes, I’d be saying the same if we were in their position. I’d be satisfied with winning it, not being given it…. I know it’d take the mother of all capitulations for them not to be triumphant… but having to listen to their fans gloating about ‘winning the league’…..to which we’d all reply “err, no, you haven’t”…

  10. jon fox says:

    Firstly, my sincere congrats to Dan for the way in which he has put the key arguments on this thorny question and for the way he did not duck giving his own opinion. I found the arguments well aired and within the confines of any article on here, which is obviously much limited in how little true depth anyone can hope to cover, he did a great job.

    My take starts from a different standpoint though. I totally take the point that whatever happens will be unfair on some clubs and there is no possible way of complete fairness , even IF, by a miracle, this season is now completed, since ANY completion will not and cannot be under level terms to all.

    My take is that there is not a cat in hells chance of this season completing and that all should be accepting this plain truth, rather than continuing to think of fanciful and yet more fanciful ways to complete it.

    The simple facts are that until an effective and widely used vaccine is available to ALL, no responsible government will ever allow the fantasy ideas being proposed to be implemented. So that it where we should START this discussion; by accepting the reality of what WILL happen rather than indulging ourselves with nonsense.

    However, what I call for will not happen yet. It will EVENTUALLY dawn on the football authorities but not for some few weeks yet, sadly.
    I also do not see football being played, even behind so called closed doors, this year of 2020, which will totally change next years CL and EL comps and make them either impossible or severely curtailed. My natural logical brain tells me that next season will be, at very best, a very curtailed one and quite possibly, I say POSSIBLY, not held at all. I do not see this realisation dawning on most folk yet and probaly not on some UNTIL it happens. Foresight is not, sadly, given to all.
    Finally, I will give my THEORETICAL opinion on what I would want, should all my above predictions prove to be wrong.
    I start from the standpoint that pretty much ALL humans are hypocrites – and I CERTAINLY am – and that despite many words and conscience wringing, will ULTIMATELY choose what we think best for OUR club. I am not different and if, in a fantasy world, we were offered the chance to play in the CL, of course I would grab it with both hands. That makes me a hypocrite but then I have known that for at least 45 of my 69 years.

  11. Amitosh says:

    I never heard EPL working on coefficient system

  12. Peter Bellamy says:

    No season can be judged until its finished and there are many permutations left if this season is played out. So should this season fail to complete than any current positions are irrelevant and the season declared null and void.
    The question is then who’s decision is it to allocate European places.
    Should the premiership decide my guess would be they would use last seasons finishing positions.
    Should uefa decide then they would almost certainly use their beloved coefficient.
    Neither solution is particularly fair to everyone but then again that solution doesn’t exist, so whatever happens we will have no choice but to get on with it and remember the cause of this problem far outweighs what will happen on a football field. The only important thing is that everyone is safe and protected and lives are not sacrificed in our rush to indulge our love of the game.

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